Math and Arithmetic
Numbers
Irrational Numbers

Can you add two irrational numbers to get a rational number?

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Wiki User
July 14, 2015 5:54PM

Yes Yes, the sum of two irrational numbers can be rational. A simple example is adding sqrt{2} and -sqrt{2}, both of which are irrational and sum to give the rational number 0. In fact, any rational number can be written as the sum of two irrational numbers in an infinite number of ways. Another example would be the sum of the following irrational quantities [2 + sqrt(2)] and [2 - sqrt(2)]. Both quantities are positive and irrational and yield a rational sum. (Four in this case.) The statement that there are an infinite number of ways of writing any rational number as the sum of two irrational numbers is true. The reason is as follows: If two numbers sum to a rational number then either both numbers are rational or both numbers are irrational. (The proof of this by contradiction is trivial.) Thus, given a rational number, r, then for ANY irrational number, i, the irrational pair (i, r-i) sum to r. So, the statement can actually be strengthened to say that there are an infinite number of ways of writing a rational number as the sum of two irrational numbers.